Feeds

At least 10 days till hot Phobos-Grunt chunks rain down

Earliest estimate for fallout from doomed Russian Mars probe 'may change'

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Any fragments of the doomed Russian Mars probe Phobos-Grunt that don't burn up in the fiery explosion of its fuel tanks hitting the atmosphere are likely to fall to Earth on 15 January.

Russian Air and Space Defence Troops' spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin gave Russian news agency Itar-Tass the date but added that it might still change.

No landing site was given for the rogue fragments, but Zolotukhin said that as of today, the stalled spacecraft was in an orbit with a period of 88.57 minutes and an inclination of 51.41 degrees, and its apogee was now 224km while its perigee is 184km.

Since the probe got stuck in Earth's orbit instead of firing its engines to send it on its mission to Mars and Martian moon Phobos, there has been concern about what will happen when it drops unguided back through the atmosphere.

The craft is carrying around 7.5 metric tons of fuel, which is likely to help Phobos-Grunt to disintegrate as soon as it hits the atmosphere, but Russian space agency Roscosmos has warned that 20 to 30 pieces with a total weight of less than 200kg could survive to impact the surface.

Roscosmos has also said that it won't be possible to be certain about the time and place of any fragmentary impacts until within a few days of the probe's plunge through the atmosphere.

Specialists at the Russian Air and Space Defence Troops' space situation are currently monitoring the probe's changes and will be able to give a preliminary forecast of when and where the bits of debris will land once Phobos-Grunt drops out of orbit.

Zolotukhin said that information about orbit changes was being "provided for all the parties concerned".

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.